Telkom hints at DStv deal

Telkom has hinted that it may have struck a deal with media and internet firm, Naspers, to offer DStv content.

Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko told Bloomberg in January that he had held talks with a host of large media companies including Comcast, Bertelsmann, Naspers, and Netflix.

Netflix, however, quickly quashed any talks that it will enter the market in SA any time soon.

Speaking at an event in Johannesburg last week, Enzo Scarcella, who resigned from Vodacom in September to join Telkom as its new chief marketing officer, noted Telkom’s plans around fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), expected to be on-stream before the end of the year at speeds of up to 100Mbps.

Earlier in June, Telkom announced plans to roll out FTTH to more than 20 local suburbs before the end of the year.

“When you have got that capacity, the obvious question is what are you going to put in there? What are people going to use it for?” Scarcella said, noting that Telkom has access to a number of assets.

The group, he said, was looking at packaging those assets in a converged offering for consumers. He said one only needed to go to the BT and Verizon website to see where the opposition has gone.

“The strategic answers are obvious,” he said.

“We have the capability to deliver into homes, more so than MTN and Vodacom. I speak to people who are in that space and they don’t know where to start. We’ve got that capability.”

He said that, while FTTH was still small, the group is working on how to scale to reach the 4.8 million households that Multichoice’s DStv has. “I think that’s the opportunity,” he said.

“The reality is in the content space…like fibre-to-the-home, it’s a land grab, and I think everyone is talking to everybody, it’s who gets there first, and who makes the right alliances,” Scarcella said.

He said the thinking would be for aggregated content, so a pipe that feeds that content.

When questioned by BusinessTech about how soon these products might be available, Scarcella said: “In a few months’ time, we may invite you to a different dinner…”

“Probably as far away as FTTH,” he said of how far away SA was from seeing content deals between operators and content providers.

Maseko said that by offering a variety of services, “we [Telkom] think winning will look like that”.

“So we’ve got fixed voice, we’ve got fixed data, we’ve got LTE, we are renewing the network, we are getting decent speeds into people homes, we have undertaken to bring FTTH. We are not doing all of those things for the fun of it.”

Telkom Strategy Head, Mirriam Altman said that with the separation of Telkom’s wholesale business in April, the group would be releasing “exciting products” on the wholesale side. “It’s one of the most exciting things we will be embarking on.”

“That’s what is going to create access to broadband in this country, is the transformation of our wholesale business,” Altman said.

DStv has a policy not to comment on speculation.

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Telkom hints at DStv deal